Sovereign Order of Cyprus Honors

Wednesday, March 7, 1973

Mr. Biaggi. Speaker, under leave to extend my remarks, I insert the highlights of the ceremony at which a high distinction was conferred upon one of our foremost humanitarians and pa­triots in the United States, Zenon Clayton Raymond Hansen, chairman and chief executive officer of Mack Trucks, Inc. Mr. Speaker, the honor to which I am refering was the investiture of Mr. Zenon C. R. Hansen as a Chevalier of the Ordre Souverain de Chypre.

Mr. Hansen has distinguished himself in his community and throughout the Nation in various executive and directorial capa­cities in the interest of the Boy Scouts of America, YMCA, United Fund, U.S. Treasury Bond Drives and a score of other civic, cha­ritable, religious, educational and fraternal organizations. He is the recipient of a number of honors and awards for his efIorts to fos ter and advance the high ideals of freedom and citizenship.

The ceremony took place at the Chapel of the World Church Center of the United Nations in New York, in the presence of distinguished church prelates and public officials.

The Sovereign Order of Cyprus, one of the oldest Orders of Chivalry, was founded in the year 1192, by Guy de Lusignan, King of Cyprus and Jerusalem, and confirmed by Pope Innocent III in the year 1200, who imposed upon it the dual mission of spread­ing the Christian faith and acting as a bulwark of Christendom in the eastern Mediterranean. The Order was created on the mo­del of the Hospitaller and Military Orders such as those of the Temple, and of St. John, installed in the Holy Land. Three hun­dred men of noble birth were inducted as knights in the new Órder and allowed to wear the red, eight-pointed cross of the Order at the throat. They were obliged to defend the island route to the Holy Land and to prevent attack and infiltration. of the infldels. The Order also consisted of men-at-arms, chaplains, and serving brothers who, with the knights, were organized in com­manderies. The distinguishing mark of the knights was a blue mande with the red cross of the Order upon it. The Order attrac­ted to its ranks some of the most vigorous nobles of Christen­dom, and these knights were to take an active interest in the affairs of the Holy Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Empire in addition to their defense of the pilgrims and their charitable works.

Under a succession of able grand masters, for more than 3 centuries,. the deeds and influence of the Sovereign Order. of Cyprus were enormous and its members played an important role in the politicai life of the times. After the annexation of Cyprus by Venice, the Order entered into a period of decline a,nd its members dispersed throughout the Balkan States and Western Europe. More recendy the Order was activated by the descendants of some of its most illustrious knights with the blessings of the Holy See and dedicated to the unique values of Ghristian civilization and the spirit of ecumenism. !ts reorga­nizers, like. their famous ancestors, felt obliged, in the face oftpe many dangers which beset our culture and our institutions, toreestablish this venerable and tradition laden Order of Chivalry, springing from one of the most respected shrines of Western thought; affirming in this way, the continuity of Christian effort against terror and injustice on a far-reaching ecumenical level.

The Sovereign Order of Cyprus, today a modern organiza­tion, based upon ailcient principles and traditions is dedicated eto strive for the maintenance of Christian ideals and Western humanism, the liberty aild dignity of man, and to oppose aU forms of oppresslon. Ainong its objectives is the building of hospitals, places of worship, and other charitable, spiritual and educational institutions. The Order honors writers, artists, men of science, culture, education and medicine; leaders of the free world from every walk of life, regardless of race, creed, color or national origin.

In its nearly 800 year history, only 900 men have received this coveted knighthood and symbolic cross. For the propagation and diffusion of its principles, the Order has created an institute for the Study of Moral Philosophy and Social Sciences, Aca­demie des Etudes Superieures which it subsidizes.

Mr. Speaker, it is my particular pleasure to inform this House that His Excellency Lorenzo de Valitch, titular Bishop of Ephesus and Apostolic Delegate to the United States, the heredi­tary Grand Chancelor of the Sovereign Order or Cyprus, heir to the rich traditions of this noble and ancient Order, created an American commandery of the Order more than 7 years ago, in recognition of the dynamic and crusading American spirit which has contributed immeasurably to bringing freedom from oppres­sion to the many peoples of the world. Bishop de Valitch per­sonaly presided over the inauguration of the American comman­dery and has since persona11y overseen its affairs. A magisterial seat in Rome, Italy, enables the United States commandery to enjoy certain diplomatic privileges, and for the purpose of pro­pagating the Order as a subject of international law in such coun­tries in which it is represented. It als o enjoys the right of active and passive diplomatic representation in each and every place where its credentials have been presented. It can appoint ambas­sadors, ministers and consular representatives with specific dis­tricts and accordingly issue appropriate diplomatic passports, pursuant to international customs.

I would like to enter in the Record the names of some of the outstanding members of this Order both in the United States and abroad:

  • H. R. H. Prince Louis de Bourbon.
  • H. S. H. Prince L. Radziwill, Rome and London.Count Stefan Potocki diplomat, Paris.
  • H. E. J. Velasco-Alvarado, President, Peru.
  • H. E. Charles Aillot, Ambassador, Ivory Coast.
  • H. E. Dr. A. Bellini, Noted Industrialist, Italy and Belgium,
  • H. E. Damaskinos Georgakopoulos, Archimandirate du TroneOecumenique.
  • General James H. Doolittle.
  • Lowell Thomas.
  • Dr. Boris Pregel, Scientist and Philanthropist.
  • Monsignor Patrick B. Fay.
  • Hon. Ludovic Huybrechts, Industrialist.
  • Henry S. Evans, Author and Professor of International Rela­tions.
  • Rev. Fred P. Eckhardt.
  • Maitre Jacques Gambier de Laforterie, Noted Lawyer, Paris.
  • H. E. Philibert Bongo, Ambassador to Rome.
  • Dr. Serge Korff, Professor, Nuclear Physics, N.Y. University.
  • Hon. Edward Thompson, Supreme Court Justice, New York. Louis A. Brun, New York.
  • Joseph James Akston, Patron of Arts, Palm Beach, Florida.
  • Victor Wallace Farris, Philanthropist, Inventor, Palm Beach,Florida.
  • H. E. Luciano Pelliccioni di Poli, Count of Montecocullo, Professor of Heraldry, Italy.
  • Jean E. Saurel, Pan American Union, Washington, D.C.
  • H. Dale Hemmerdinger, Real Estate Executive, New York.
  • J. Stanley Carey, Insurance Executive, New York.
  • Frederick N. Kinne, Phd. Industrialist, New Jersey.
  • A. William Carter, New York.
  • Donald W. Scholle, Investments, N. Y.
  • Emil V. Hegyi, Oil Company Executive, Dallas, Texas.

These distinguished contemporaries typify the caliber of men holding this high honor. I wish to congratulate Mr. Zenon C. R. Hansen at having been selected to join this illustrious group. I would als o like to commend His Excellency Bishop de Valitch for his tireless efforts to hring.,about a better world and to wish him and the knights of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus continued success in their humanitarian efforts.